Thursday, January 15, 2015

Slippery Floors?

Often, customers are in search of a “non-slip” tile. While certain tiles have more texture than others, the truth is, ALL hard surfaces are slippery when wet. So whether your flooring is laminate, wood or tile; contaminants such as dirt, water, soap residue, oil, or grease can change the amount of slipperiness on these surfaces. There are many factors that affect the possibility of a slip occurring on a tile such as, the material of the shoe sole and the degree of its wear and the presence and nature of surface contaminants. These factors are not limited to tile either, because all hard surfaces are slippery when wet!

The flooring industry uses coefficient of friction ratings as a guideline to determine the slip resistance of ceramic and porcelain tiles. A higher coefficient of friction indicates increased resistance of movement over the floor tile. The coefficient of friction measurement is an evaluation of a tile surface under known conditions using a standardized method.

So what exactly does this mean? In short, it can provide a useful comparison of flooring surfaces, but it does not predict the likelihood a person will or will not slip on a tiled surface! There are two methods in which the coefficient of friction is measured in. Until recently, coefficient of friction was measured in static coefficient of friction (SCOF). This is when a material is at rest and what force it takes to begin sliding over the floor surface. Here are some of the specs for my fellow tile gurus:

Static Co-Efficient of Friction (SCOF) – ASTM-C1028 the ratio of the force necessary for a surface to begin sliding over another divided by the weight of an object.
SCOF - Recommendations for slip resistance by ADA and OSHA:
ADA= Wet/Dry 0.6 or greater
ADA Ramps= 0.8 or greater
OSHA= Wet/Dry 0.5 or greater
OSHA Ramps= Not Test Rating

This method has been helpful, but at times can be unrealistic. To better help depict real life situations, a new method of determining slip resistance has been devised. This method being dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) also called kinetic coefficient of friction. This is helpful because the measurement is similar to the natural movement of walking across these floor surfaces and, hence kinetic movement!

Dynamic Co-Efficient of Friction (DCOF) Sometimes called kinetic COF.  This is the ratio of the force necessary to keep a surface already in motion sliding over another divided by the weight of an object.

DCOF – Specifications when measured with the BOT 3000 per the procedure in the A137.1 standard. ANSI A137.1= Wet: 0.42 DCOF

So when you’re shopping for tile with slipperiness in mind, remember that the risk of a slip can be diminished by installing tiles with a structured/textured surface, mosaic tiles for more grout traction, or certain unglazed quarry tiles. The industry has tried to measure slipperiness with coefficients of friction; however it is not an accurate depiction of how slippery a floor surface can be. Because many variables affect the risk of a slip occurring, the COF should not be the only factor in determining the appropriateness of a tile for a particular application!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Shape Up Your Space with Arabesque Tile

Has your kitchen become too square? Squares and rectangles have always been the go-to back splash shape, and although subway tile is all the rage, is your kitchen becoming too cookie cutter? If so, then its time to think of some fun ways to shape up your kitchen! If this seems to be your design dilemma, check out the trendiest shape in the tile world: Arabesque.
In this traditional kitchen, the arabesque shape adds warmth and soft curves to the space, ultimately creating a focal point above the range as the cool blue tones add a pop of color to an otherwise neutral kitchen.

 Back splashes are an ideal surface to add color and interest to your kitchen. Here, instead of using white glossy subway tile, the designer used a fun arabesque shape for the back splash creating interest while still adhering to the white-on-white kitchen trend. Houzz Blogger, Rachel Grace comments “The arabesque shape allows you to break away from standards like subway tile, while still embracing the look of a regimented, staggered pattern.”

With sharp edges all throughout the kitchen, soft curves are needed for contrast. Most kitchens have rectangular cabinetry, square windows, and square or rectangular flooring. The back splash is the perfect field to add some shapely accents creating interest while serving a purpose.
When using this geometric shape, don’t feel limited to your kitchen. Bathrooms, showers, fireplaces, and even floors are ideal spaces to add an exciting geometric shape. Note the use of the arabesque shape on this fireplace.

This Moroccan figure is making a come back. Moroccan tile is typically noted for complex geometric designs; artisans use mathematical precision to produce masterpieces. Designs rely on symmetry and repetition of complex patterns to cover large areas, such as walls and floors. Houzz Blogger, Karen Egly-Thompson found in her research that “figural representation of living things is not permitted in Islamic art forms, and the arabesque pattern arose as a stylized reference to flowers, vines and other foliage.”

 In this image, glass foil backed tile creates a lux look in this powder room. The reflectivity of the foil paired with the glass adds texture and dimension to this small powder room.
Experiment with the arabesque in your shower as well! As you can see in these images, this geometric shape acts as a bold focal point creating contrast against the light elements in the room.


Arabesque’s unique and traditional shape is both curvy and sharp, making it universally attractive and excitingly geometric. Feeling inspired? Check out our showroom to see how this exciting shape can add interest to your space!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

No Limitations of Design with Wood Look Tiles

Herringbone patterns in two color tones create a fun chevron pattern.
I think we all recognize wood-look tiles as a very popular trend at the moment. But think outside the box with ways to install your wood tile to give it a unique look! Traditionally you would install your wood-looks in a 1/3 random offset pattern to give the appearance of a hardwood floor, but just like any other tile you can combine colors or create a pattern to give your design its' own character.

Using a tile that has a high variation in pattern and tones in one way to give your design more color. Another way to introduce different colors into the space is to pick a tile series that offers a variety of solid color tones. To the right you see a herringbone pattern in contrasting colors in Florida Tile's Natura series that we installed in the H.Winter Tile showroom. The defined color pattern creates a chevron pattern for a fun, modern design. The example of the wall below shows how you can use a more subtle, random color blend adds depth and character on simple accent wall. 

This wall display using Florida Tile's Natura Series is a traditional offset layout with three different color tones creating interest.
If you want to stick to one color to keep the design more uniform or contemporary, maybe you would choose to use a tile that has a more modern flair with less natural wood grain. And just because you generally see wood installed in an offset pattern doesn't mean you can't be a rule breaker. Try a stacked pattern for a bit more modern edge and a simpler pattern. Below you also see images of a basketweave pattern or alternating the direction of the tile to create any style you want.

Go ahead...break the rules of tradition and let us know what you come up with!

Mediterranea Dream - Contemporary Wood-Look Porcelain Tile
Basketweave Pattern

Non-Traditional Pattern with a Wood-Look Porcelain Tile

Install Porcelain Wood-Look Tiles in Alternating Directions for a Unique Style